Tag Archive for: undergraduate

Tag Archive for: undergraduate

Melinda Baptista

Case Study: Melinda Baptista

Melinda is currently studying for a Mathematics Degree at the Dundee University.

At school

Melinda took maths, further maths, physics and chemistry for her A-levels and she had great support from her teachers and family to explore maths and physics:

“I had a female Physics teacher, which I thought was really cool”

Looking back at her own education she mentions that ” I think science taught me to be more inquisitive […] a lot of people thinks that maths is about finding an answer, but it’s not. It’s about how do you find the answer, and how you can then use that answer in other scenarios.”

Women in Science Society

Her own experience of being the only girl in her Physics class at secondary school led Melinda to join forces with others at Dundee University to co-found a Women in Science Society.  She is happy to take the lead in projects, and is very proud of the society.

We started  last year, and it’s nice to get lots of women in STEM together and talk about the issues we face […] We have a series running called My future self where we have women at different stages of their careers coming in and giving talks about their career progression, where they started, where do they want to be and I think it really inspires everyone to pursue their career aspirations [..] We want to start doing outreach with primary schools and secondary schools in the area to really encourage the growth of science capital.

Melinda’s advice to young people

Keep being inquisitive, keep asking questions and keep making contact everywhere you go […] always writes people’s emails down and try to find out ways to further progress in STEM. […] Ask your teachers if they know of any summer schools or programmes and things [you] could get involved in.

Reading books & travelling the world

When she is not busy with her studies Melinda likes to to spend her time reading and travelling: “I recently challenged myself to read a book a week and it’s going well. I am currently reading a book called algorithms to live by which is about human decision-making and  is really interesting because then you start looking how to to plan your day […]  I live in Scotland which is a really beautiful country and I love travel around the Highlands […] in Europe, Berlin is my favourite city to go to every summer.”


Caitlin Pugh

Case Study: Caitlin Pugh

Originally from Doncaster, Caitlin began a BSc degree course in Physics & Astrophysics at Northumbria University in 2014.

Studying Physics

In year 12, Caitlin studied Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology and General Studies AS Levels. She carried on with Physics, Maths and Chemistry to A2. Physics was her favourite subject:

“I find it fascinating how much we know about the universe, and equally how much there is still to learn. It’s such a fast-developing subject and I want to play some part in it. To me, physics is the most important subject, and that’s why I chose it.”

As for her studies at Northumbria:

“I am really enjoying the course, it’s structured well and our grades come from a mixture of exams and coursework. Most of the content so far has been consolidating the things I learned at A level and then taking them slightly further. I have enjoyed this because I expected to be thrown in at the deep end and swamped with work from the start, however the course really eases you in and lets you settle into uni life before becoming more challenging.

“One of the best things about studying here is the support available, I know where to find my tutors and I know they will be happy to help if I’m having a problem with the content. If you send them an email, they always respond quickly and with helpful advice. Also, there are no shortage of places to sit and work or just to sit and talk to your course friends.”

What’s next?

Caitlin might stay on for a Master’s course after her BSc degree — an extra year of study that’s more about independent learning than a taught course, and is often a stepping-stone to a research career. She’s looking to use her astrophysics knowledge, so her dream job would be working for a space agency, but before she has to make any decisions she has a year in industry as part of her course. So everything could change!

Caitlin’s advice for others

“Choose something you enjoy, but also something that opens lots of doors. University is a huge investment, not just of money, but time as well. There’s no point studying a subject for three years that you might really enjoy, but then at the end of it not being able to find a good job afterwards. I chose Physics because I know that even if I don’t get a Physics-related job when I graduate, I’ve still gained an array of useful skills that employers look for. Choosing a degree subject should be a balance between what you enjoy and what is going to benefit you the most in the future.”